12 real ways you can help improve the air quality right now
Unfortunately, with car emissions, chemicals from factories, and the burning of fossil fuels — air pollution is a massive problem we’re facing that has been linked to heart disease, stroke, lung disease, asthma, and a slew of other health issues. And according to the World Health Organization, about 7 million premature deaths are attributable to air pollution — impacting children and elderly the hardest. Plus, air pollution can poison soils and waterways, which inevitably harms plants and animals.
While May is clean air month, it’s important to make an effort to improve air quality all year round. Because whether you live in the countryside in Canada or the East Village in New York, air quality affects us all. From adding indoor plants to changing air filters regularly, here are 12 real ways you can help improve air quality now.
12 real ways you can help improve air quality right now
1. Add indoor plants
The American Lung Association has found that indoor air can be more polluted than the air outdoors. One way to help fight the problem is by adding indoor plants to your space. Indoor plants absorb pollutants through their roots and leaves. In fact, a NASA study found that indoor plants can cleanse the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. Pretty amazing, right?
And some research shows that rooms with houseplants have up to 60 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without greenery. Want to find out which indoor plant you need in your life? Take our quiz!
2. Use essential oils (instead of air fresheners)
If you want all the cozy, yummy smells with none of the chemicals — essential oils are for you. They not only make rooms smell like zen-full spas, but they’re also free of hidden chemicals.
Consider investing in a diffuser, which basically mixes oils with water to create a steamy mist that gives rooms that chilled-out scent. Check out this SpaRoom Guardian diffuser from Amazon or this plastic-free diffuser from Organic Aromas.
And for more chemical-free ways to scent your home, check out these 6 planet-friendly ways to make your home smell amazing.
3. Change your air filters regularly
AC filters are not to be under-estimated! They help block pollutants and particles from circulating in your home, so you don’t breathe in things like mold, dirt, pollen, and bacteria. Especially if you have allergies or respiratory issues, or if you live in an urban environment, you might want to invest in a HEPA filter, which removes 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, and other particles, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Or you can upgrade your home HVAC filter with a filter that has a high MERV rating.
As a general rule, AC filters should be swapped out monthly. But AC filters aren’t the only filters in need of changing. Other filters to switch up periodically include filters in vacuum cleaners, cars, and clothes dryers.
4. Take your shoes off at your front door
Just think about all the stuff we step on outside… cringe! If you take your shoes off at your front door, you’ll avoid bringing in pollen and other pollutants into your home.
5. Use fragrance-free cleaning products
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to the environment and public health, shows cleaning products can contain carcinogens, asthma instigators, and poisons. And the extra concerning part is: most products do not come with disclosures of what’s inside them!
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6. Keep your rugs and carpets clean
Carpets and rugs are like sponges for allergens, dust, and pollutants. So it’s a good idea to use a vacuum (ideally with a HEPA filter) for maximum cleaning. P.S. Especially if you have a new carpet/rug, it’s best to let the room air out for a while by opening windows, using fans, and vacuuming.
7. Groom your pets regularly
By keeping your pets groomed, you’ll help minimize shedding and dander. The ASPCA also notes that grooming pets helps spread natural oils throughout their coat and keeps their skin clean. Everyone wins!
8. Be mindful of your paint
Peep for water-based paints that are labeled “Zero VOC” to cut back on chemicals. (P.S. we print our clothes with water-based ink. Learn more about how we make our clothes!)
9. Prevent mold
Mold can grow pretty much anywhere, from carpet and clothing to paper and pipes. But the best way to prevent mold is to control moisture. Fixing leaks, opening windows and doors, and drying spills are simple ways to stop mold from becoming a problem in the first place — especially in bathrooms. But if you already have a mold issue, check out this article from The Spruce for tips on how to tackle the problem.
10. Commute cleanly
Carpooling, walking, and taking public transportation are ways to make your commute gentler on the environment and reduce air pollution. And when you are driving, make an effort to gradually accelerate and obey the speed limit.
But, of course, working from home is the most eco-friendly commute of all!
11. Stay away from aerosols
Aerosols like hairsprays, spray deodorants, and air fresheners contribute to smog. Take advantage of the many non-aerosol alternatives that work just as efficiently (and are easier on the planet).
12. Plant trees
Trees are magical for so many reasons! They not only clean air by absorbing odors and pollutant gases, but they also filter toxins from waterways.
One beautiful way to show love to Mother Earth is planting a tree in a yard or somewhere near your community. (Discover more reasons to love trees.)
Check out more posts to make your home more eco-friendly, here:
- 7 ways to make your home pollinator-friendly
- How to make your bedroom eco-friendly
- 7 Easy ways to make your bathroom more eco-friendly